In a thought-provoking lecture, Ghanaian industrialist Tony Oteng-Gyasi has challenged the widely held notion that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are detrimental to Africa’s development.
Instead, he asserted that Africa’s underdevelopment stems from internal factors, such as pride and indiscipline.
Mr Oteng-Gyasi, a former President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), argued that the IMF and World Bank possess the expertise and resources to guide Ghana out of poverty and into an era of economic prosperity.
However, he emphasized that this can only be achieved if African nations diligently adhere to the policy recommendations of these institutions.
Delivering the University of Ghana’s 2023 Alumni Lecture in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Oteng-Gyasi countered the assertion that no country has developed under the IMF and World Bank’s supervision, citing the remarkable growth trajectories of Asian economies, including the so-called Asian Tigers.
These nations, Oteng-Gyasi maintained, followed the IMF and World Bank’s guidance, embracing free trade zones, technology hubs, and sound tax policies.
In contrast, Oteng-Gyasi lamented Africa’s tendency to disregard the IMF and World Bank’s advice, while simultaneously aspiring to achieve the same level of economic success as the Asian Tigers.
He likened this approach to wanting to emulate the lion’s strength without taking the necessary steps to build muscle.
Mr Oteng-Gyasi urged African nations to embrace the IMF and World Bank’s guidance, recognizing that their expertise and resources can be instrumental in propelling the continent towards sustainable economic growth.
He emphasized that shedding pride and embracing discipline are essential prerequisites for Africa’s economic transformation.
“Across Asia, these institutions have given advice and helped nations grow their economies remarkably well. These institutions produced the Asian Tigers,” the former Chairman of the University of Ghana Council said, adding “In Africa, we want to be Lions, but ignore the medicine the Asians took assiduously.
“From the free zones concept as part of the export promotion strategy to the Gratis Technology centres as a foundation for industrial development, and regular tax policy advice, the World Bank and IMF have given good and useful policy advice to our nation,” Dr Oteng-Gyasi said.
Mr Oteng-Gyasi became the 34th speaker and the second person from the private sector at the eminent speaker series instituted by the University of Ghana Alumni Association (UGAA) in 1974 for thought-provoking lectures on issues of national importance.
This year’s event, which coincided with the 75th anniversary of the university, was on the theme: “The Fault Dear Brutus.”
It was chaired by the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Abba Appiah Amfo.